Do you wish your husband could (or would) be more involved in your homeschool? I’m Wendy, one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms. In years past, I didn’t get many requests from dads about how to be involved in homeschooling, but lately, I’ve gotten quite a few requests from dads asking how they can be more involved in their families’ homeschools. I’ve also gotten questions from moms who want to encourage their husbands to be involved in homeschooling, but they don’t know what to ask them to do or how to get them involved in realistic, do-able ways. This article is written to dads, but if you’re a mom, feel free to read it for suggestions for your husband. Or simply share the article with him!
Why Should Dad Be Involved?
Dad, the first question you might have is why should you be involved in your family’s homeschool. That’s a good question! It’s important that your children, especially your sons, see that education is important to both you and your wife. If your children see that homeschooling and learning are important to both of you, they will be much more likely to value learning, to want to learn, and to enjoy learning!
There are some things dads are uniquely suited to teach. There are often things like car maintenance, yard work, home repairs, and sports that dads tend to be more interested in. There are moms who are interested in these pursuits, but often dads are the ones who handle these things, and that makes dads better suited to teach them.
Dads sometimes aren’t sure how to spend time with their children in meaningful ways. Becoming involved in your family’s homeschool provides a great way to spend time with your children and support your wife at the same time.
How Can Dad Be Involved?
There are many ways you can be involved in your family’s homeschool! Think about your work schedule, interests, and abilities, and use these ideas as suggestions that you can tweak as needed. There are many ways to get involved in homeschooling!You may not be able to be at home during “traditional” school hours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with your children reading, playing, helping with “homework,” or even teaching a subject during non-traditional hours! Lots of homeschooling families do school work later in the afternoons or evenings or even on weekends. There’s no reason to feel like you have to be involved between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. (Check out this article about homeschooling at night.)
- Don’t feel like you have to homeschool the same way your wife does! It’s ok if your teaching style is different than that of your wife. You don’t have to try to pattern your homeschool time after hers. In fact, it’s good for your children to learn in different ways from different teachers! It may feel a little strange at first as you’re developing your own way of doing things with your children, but it will feel more natural as time goes on.
- One of the single most important things you can do as a dad is to show love and respect to your wife. If your children see you showing love and respect to your wife, they will learn from you! It’s so hard for a mom to homeschool disrespectful, disobedient children. Teaching your children to love and respect their mom can not only make her job and her day much easier, but it can also benefit you since she won’t be so stressed and worn out at the end of the day!
- Another extremely important thing you can do is help out! Most of the happiest families I know are the ones in which the dad helps out around the house. I know it seems like your wife should be able to handle the housework and keep the family fed and chauffeur the children back and forth to their various commitments and activities, but keep this in mind. Teaching is a full-time job all by itself! Homeschooling and taking care of so many other commitments and obligations can be nearly impossible for one person to do. If you willingly and happily help out with these tasks, it will go a long way toward helping your homeschooling and your home run smoothly and keeping your wife happy and stress-free
- Do you have hobbies or special interests that you can share with your children? Homeschooling doesn’t have to be only about traditional subjects like math, science, and reading! Are you interested in hunting, fishing, car repairs, yard work, or sports? Share those interests with your children! Guide them in helping you to build or create something. Get them involved in some kind of sport or activity that you enjoy. Or take up a new hobby together. Why not try bee keeping? Or what about gardening or landscaping? Not only will you be teaching your children something valuable, but you’ll also be spending time doing something you love and teaching them to love it too!
- Sometimes it can be hard for moms to keep up with the news and current events. We moms spend so much time taking care of our children and our homes, and more and more of us work and homeschool too! We don’t often have time to watch the news or read about current events. If you’re interested in politics, the news, and current events, share those with your children!
- Listen to your children’s oral reports, essays, or speeches. Or you may even ask your wife if she’d like you to help her grade the children’s work. If she doesn’t take grades yet–some moms don’t keep grades until the students are in junior high or high school–then volunteer to help look over your students’ work and check for errors. Then you can help explain any errors and their corrections. This can be a huge help to a busy homeschooling mom!
- Help your wife make curriculum choices. She may want you to take an active role in helping her choose curriculum, or she may simply need someone to talk to as she makes the choices. (Many women “think out loud,” and it’s helpful simply to have someone to listen.)
- If you’re a Christian family, take an active role in reading the Bible and praying with your children.
- Read bedtime stories to your children, or lead family read-aloud time after dinner in the evenings. Not only will you get to experience some fun books together, but you’ll be showing your children that reading is important and that it can be enjoyable to both adults and children and moms and dads.
- Help enforce limits on television, video games, cell phones, etc. Sometimes we moms feel like we’re always the “bad guys” who have to enforce limits on our children’s electronics usage. It can take a huge burden off of us if you help enforce these limits when you’re home.
- Do simple things like help your children study for tests, practice spelling words, or listen to them read out loud. Sometimes offering to help them study or practice is all it takes for children to be willing to put in the extra work they need to do to excel. And if you have special needs children, this can be even more helpful since children with learning difficulties often need extra help that can be hard for moms to provide if they’re homeschooling several children. Just be sure to be encouraging and supportive of your children even if they have learning troubles.
- Encourage your wife! Sometimes we moms get discouraged, overwhelmed, and just plain tired! We love what we do for the most part, but it can be tiring and challenging to do all we do day after day. Instead of complaining if the house isn’t clean or dinner isn’t ready, be encouraging and helpful! Give your wife the benefit of the doubt. Understand that she really is doing her best to get everything done and do a great job teaching the children. Sometimes a little help and encouragement are just what she needs! But complaints and harsh words will almost always cause hurt and anger and not lead to a positive outcome for anyone.
- Help with discipline. This doesn’t mean that you should be the only disciplinarian in your home. There’s no need for the children to dread seeing you come home from work! But it is helpful if you make sure your children know that they are expected to obey their mom whether or not you are there. If they know that Mom and Dad are a united team, the children will be more likely to obey and follow the rules and family guidelines.
- It is a huge blessing to your wife if you are able to take the children on a regular basis and give her a little time off! Even if you simply take the children (if they’re younger children) to the park once a week (or even once a month!) to give her a few hours to rest or visit with a friend or even to prepare school work. If your children are older, maybe you can spend some time with them doing something that all of you enjoy (a service project or a fun activity like a ballgame or movie) to give your wife some time to do something she enjoys or needs to do but doesn’t have time to do.
- Consider teaching one of your children’s school subjects if possible. Not all dads are able to take on the teaching of a school subject, but for many dads who have been able to do it, it has been a huge blessing for everyone involved! Some dads particularly enjoy or are great at a foreign language, math, science, or even physical education class or some kind of elective. This gives Mom a break, is fun for the children, and can be rewarding for you.
- If your wife asks you to do something, do it if you possibly can! I know many dads who simply tell their wives to make their children take care of jobs that their wives have asked them to do. While it is important for children to help around the house, now and then your wife may need you to either do the job or be in charge of supervising and/or teaching the children to handle the job. Asking your wife to get the children to handle a certain job may take more time than she has to devote at that moment.
- Go on field trips with your family if you can. Not only will this help make field trips more fun for your children, but it can also make them much less stressful for your wife! Not all dads are able to miss work to go on field trips, but if you’re able to, it can be fun and rewarding for everyone.